From 1951 to 1952 Girke studied at the "Werkkunstschule" in Hanover and subsequently attended the "Staatliche Kunstakademi" in Düsseldorf until 1956. The painter thought the prevailing form of Art informel was too subjective and lofty, so in the mid 1950s he steadily developed his own formally reduced style. Raimund Girke's rapid success became obvious in 1959, when he received the city of Wolfsburg's prize for painting and the "Kunstpreis der Jugend" in Stuttgart in 1962.
From 1966 to 1971 Girke taught at the "Werkkunstschule" in Hanover, before being asked to teach at the "Hochschule der Künste" in Berlin. During the 1960s the artist continued to develop his style and restricted his color scale. The earlier arrangement principles of the painting surface, such as parallel layers of colour in individual strokes of paint, and mesh-like serial structures, were to become characteristic for his whole oeuvre.
During the 1970s Raimund Girke called for the comparison of a total stimulus satiation against "the quiet reduced objects to lead the viewer back to concentration". An almost monochrome-white picture design with the finest differentiation in color and light was dominant in this period and experienced its purest manifestation in the pictures for "documenta VI" in 1977.
For Raimund Girke white became the "Queen of Colors". In the 1980s and 1990s the color palette was extended by various graduations of grey, the gestured moment of the brush stroke was again intensified. In Girke's serial, structural arrangements the personal flow was nearly totally neutralized but his works are nevertheless marked by a tension between sobriety and emotion. Raimund Girke's art has played a fundamental role in German painting since the 1980s.
In 1995 the artist received the Lovis-Corinth-Prize. Raimund Girke lived and worked in Cologne and Berlin until he died in 2002.
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